Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wings and a Prayer

 The new semester started with a whimper, yesterday.  First period went off without a hitch, but when the students arrived for 2nd period, they were asking questions about lockers, and coats.  Admittedly, I was confused - after all, it wasn't even 10 am.

"We're getting out at TEN THIRTY," repeated student after student, as they entered my room.

I glanced out the window.  Not a flake in sight.  A quick check of my email revealed, however, that April Fools' Day had not yet arrived.  We were being dismissed for the day due to an impending storm that was expected, apparently, momentarily.  The 84 minutes of lesson plans was condensed, quickly, into the fastest 33 minutes of the semester, and the building emptied and the buses departed by 10:35.

Talk about adapting.  As soon as the teachers were released approximately 45 minutes later, the wings were frying at Beanie's, ordered for the second day in a row by appreciative faculty.  (The previous day had been an in-service day -- ahhh, the luxury of lunches out in public that last longer than 28 minutes!)

The Te@chthought Prompt of the day:

Is your school leading the team to adapt? What structures are in place to engage staff in generating and testing out new ideas, practices, change?

 I must admit, I'm a bit confused by this prompt.  Education is nothing BUT adaptation these days.  I'm fairly certain that most of my colleagues actually have the DNA of a chameleon, as they flexibly adjust to whatever new buzzword, strategy, and technique that comes down the pike.

Our district participates in the training opportunities and networks of the local Intermediate Unit.  IU 13 is a pretty cool place filled with educational experts who design instruction, interpret data, assist with teacher training, and facilitate discussions, all of which allow for the encouragement of collaboration, exploration, and improving teacher practices.  

Beyond the structured in-service trainings, the network and IU collaborations, my colleagues are consummate professionals.  Case in point:  today I stopped by the classroom of my English Department chair, Kasey.  My "quick question" evolved into a 45 minute, 3 person discussion that left all of us feeling better equipped to do our jobs.  Our mini-professional development was probably among the most affirming we've received in recent months.

Michelle Edwards (@mdeHSD) is a faithful reader of this blog.  Recently she tweeted on a post about collaboration and camaraderie in informal mentorships.

  Celebrate you today! Post helped me realize what is missing at my new school-history with school families. Takes time to build.

Thanks, Michelle, for pointing out the true gift I have in the longevity in my district.  The structures that are in place to adapt to change are the people with whom I work every day.  My support network is also my adaptation network, my consultation network, my collaboration network, and the very people who support me when I decide to take a risk and try something new in my classroom.

And they invite me out for wings on days when the cafeteria is closed.  Are they the best, you bet.  Oh, and the wings are pretty good, too.

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